Preparing for Departure from Home Country

by Nathan Couvillon

Pre-departure COVID-19 Testing

Canada will be requiring pre-departure testing and negative results for all air travelers coming to Canada. A negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test must be performed on all temporary foreign workers (TFW’s) by an accredited lab within 72 hours of boarding a flight effective January 7, 2021. Travelers may be denied boarding should they not have this negative test in hand.

NOTE: Workers arriving from Mexico will have a 96-hour window to obtain a negative PCR test to board a plane to Canada until January 14. After January 14, workers will once again only have 72-hours to obtain the negative PCR test. Those farms that are arranging their own flights should contact your workers directly so that they are aware of the new requirements.

NOTE: There is a new addition to Canada’s travel restrictions that directly affects the travel of workers coming from Jamaica. The new interim order states “Exceptionally, and in order to deal with the unexpected challenges of a COVID-19 molecular testing supply shortage, from January 10 until January 18, 2021, travelers departing from Jamaica who were not able to obtain a COVID-19 test may be allowed to board their flight, if they consent in advance to take a COVID-19 test at the Toronto Pearson International airport immediately upon their arrival in Canada.” Jamaica continues to be on the list at the bottom that allows 96hrs for a test until January 14. This temporary exemption for passengers is restricted to flights destined to Pearson International Airport in Toronto. Travellers making use of this exemption will also be subject to other measures as deemed suitable by a public health quarantine officer. COVID-19 pre-departure testing – Transport Canada

You can find additional information at by scrolling down to the headline that says Jamaica and click on the ‘health’ tab – the following information is there.

Due to reduced testing capacity, it may be challenging to obtain a COVID-19 test at this time in Jamaica. Contact the High Commission of Canada to Jamaica or the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa to find out where to get a COVID-19 test.

Find more information on the requirements from the Government of Canada here (

Temporary Testing Exemption

All travellers will have their quarantine plans reviewed by a government official and, if the plan is not suitable, the traveller will be required to quarantine in a federally designated quarantine facility. Travellers to Canada must use the ArriveCAN app or website and provide accurate contact information and their mandatory 14-day quarantine plan on or before entry. This seems to be unrelated to whether an individual is exempt from the testing requirement. As all workers should have an appropriate quarantine plan upon arrival (as required by the feds of the employer), this would unlikely come into play for TFWS.

ArriveCan App

As of November 21, 2020, all travelers entering Canada, including Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) will be required to submit contact and quarantine information digitally upon and after entry via the ArriveCAN app or webpage. Information on this requirement can be found here:

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